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Islam and Spiritualism (25 Aug 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Reflections on Qur'anic Message, Part 5 - Primacy of Good Deeds in Islam

By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

25 August 2017

(Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009)

Most Muslims regard the five pillars of faith as the essence of Islam’s message with salat as the key to Paradise.

When they meet each other, they generally ask ‘have you done your prayer’. But they never ask fellow Muslims or next of kin, have you done any good deeds.

‘Good deeds’ is central to practically all religions and probably there is no religion in the world that promotes evil deeds except the terrorists and nihilists. So why this reflection for the Muslims!!

This reflection is prompted by distinguished international scholar and celerity Akbar Ahmed’s interview of Kristaine Becker, once a top presenter on MTV Europe on what made her convert to Islam [1]

When Kristaine Becker, asked Cricketer Imran Khan what Islam was all about, his answer was "Believe in God and do good deeds, was the essence of Islam"- and this set her on course to explore Islam leading to her eventual conversion.

To most Muslims, Imran Khan’s answer may reflect a silver coating or simplistic reduction of Islamic message. He didn’t talk about the Prophet of Islam or the pillars of faith and singled out good deeds as the heart and soul of Islam.

But Imran Khan was true to the Qur’an.

This is what the Qur’an says:

Indeed! Whoever surrenders(asslama) his will to God, and does good deeds - will get his reward from his Lord. There will be no fear upon them nor shall they grieve.” (2:112).

“And who can be better in religion (din) than one who surrenders (asslama) his will to God, and does good deeds, and follows the way of Abraham, the upright one…. ” (4:125).

“And who is finer in speech than the one who invites to God, does good deeds and says: ‘I am of those who surrender to God (muslimun)’” (41:33).

Thus, the Qur’an testifies that all those, regardless of their religions and prophets, whose faith in God inspires them with a spirit of doing good will get reward from God.

Hence as stated by Imran Khan, "Believe in God and do good deeds, is the essence of Islam"

or the epitome of its message


This notion does not underplay or blot out the significance of the Pillars of faith – that is salat, fasting, hajj and zakat, but adds the superstructure to these pillars.


The din or code of life of Islam will be compromised if a Muslim simply conforms to the pillars of faith but refrains from doing good deeds by wayof helping each other. In the words of the Qur’an:

Do you see the one who belies the din (religion) (107:1)?. It is he who rebuffs the orphan (2), and does not encourage feeding the poor (3). So, woe to those prayerful (4), who are heedless of their prayer (5), who aim to be seen (in public) (6), but hold back from helping (others)” (107:7).

Accordingly, the Qur’an distinguishes Good deeds as the sole criteria for earning divine approval on Judgment Day that we will discuss in next reflection (Part-6).


Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.

[1]. http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-the-west/muslim-converts-3--kristiane-backer--islam-is-compatible-with-science,-islam-is-a-religion-for-people-who-think/d/112255

Reflections on Kindness to Humanity in Qur’anic Message – Part 4


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam-and-spiritualism/muhammad-yunus,-new-age-islam/reflections-on-qur-anic-message,-part-5---primacy-of-good-deeds-in-islam/d/112330

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  • Ghulam Mohiuddin Sahab,

    The secular/ liberal view you propounded is captured by a great poet of British India (I think Altaf Hussain Hali) in these words:

    yehi hae ibadat yehi deen o imaan == ki kaam aye duniya me insaan ke insaan

    By muhammd yunus - 8/27/2017 9:17:29 AM

  • In a liberal/secular view, "Belief in God" can also be read as "Belief in what is good".

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/27/2017 12:11:27 AM

  • Dear Syed Khaleq Ahmed!
    In your comment you state:"So,  good deeds alone without belief in One Allah as per Quranic teachings will be of no use in the Hereafter. This is the huge lacunae in this article."
    This statement suggests that the article isolates 'Good deeds' from faith in God. But this is not true.

    Each of the quoted verse espouses belief in God and only shows that the Qur'an ascribes the quality of doing good deeds to those who believe in God or surrender their will to Him.

    The article is designed as reflection on the Qur'anic verses and the readers are requested to read what the Qur'an says closely and reflect on what comes under their eyes. The article is indeed true to the Qur'an and there is no misrepresentation of what it says and there is no suggestion whatsoever that 'good deeds without belief in Allah' is central to Islamic message. 

    By muhammd yunus - 8/26/2017 8:09:04 PM

  • 'Good deeds' alone is not central to the religion of Islam.  What is central to Islam is the belief in One and Only One Allah and everything comes after that.  And this is clear in Mr Imran Khan's statement as quoted by Mr Yunus. The same is also clear from one of the Quranic verses quoted by Mr Yunus himself. So,  good deeds alone without belief in One Allah as per Quranic teachings will be of no use in the Hereafter. This is the huge lacunae in this article. I hope this will be corrected appropriately in the next part of the series. To buttress my point,  I would like to remind the readers about the strong support given to the Prophet (SAWS) by his uncle in preaching Islam when every body had turned against him in Makkah. Yet,  the Prophet asked his uncle at the time of the latter's death to recite the kalima that ' there is no Allah but only One Allah and Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah' so that Allah may have mercy on him  and forgive his sins.  Hope this makes things clear to one and all. 
    By Syed Khalique Ahmed - 8/26/2017 6:33:50 AM

  • Yunus saheb's excellent "Reflections" can be put together in  a book for genral readership. Such a book can also serve as a guide for those who deliver khutbas.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 8/26/2017 12:03:05 AM

  • What people should do when they meet others is in the following Surah:

    (103:1) By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),(2) Verily Man is in loss,

    (3) Except such as believe, and do righteous deeds, and exhort each other to uphold what is Right, and to practice Patience and Constancy.

    We pray in Surah fateha:

    (1:6) Show us the straight way,

    (7) The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, ,,,,,

    Who are the people on whom God has bestowed his Grace?

    The answer is in 4:69

    They are the Siddiq (seekers and upholders of the truth), the Shuhuda (exemplars of Islamic virtues) and the Saliheen (people who do good deeds). 

    While the first two categories are difficult to achieve, every Muslim is expected to practice good deeds which is an essential requirement to attract the Grace of Allah.

    By Naseer Ahmed - 8/25/2017 8:25:32 AM

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